The Daffodil Cichlid is endemic to Lake Tanganyika, the largest African rift lake. These fish tend to inhabit the rocky shorelines in the southeastern part of the lake where the water is fairly shallow. The Daffodil Cichlid is named for the yellow coloration that can be seen on various parts of its body, offsetting an overal tan coloration. They may also exhibit blue or purple spots along with two dark bars just behind the eye which are bright blue in color. The dorsal fins of this species are lyre-shaped and most of the fins are tipped in blue.
This pretty cichlid is not shy about swimming out in the open. But they do like an aquarium with lots of rock formations creating caves for retreating. A sandy substrate is best because though they are not avid diggers, they may dig out spawning territories around decor. Plants are not essential but if you should include them they won't harm them.
These are a schooling fish that pair off only to breed, so are actually best kept in a group. They are generally peaceful and non aggressive with their own kind. They are not inclined to quarrel with others except when spawning, and then are very territorial. They are best kept in a species tank, or a group of these fish can be kept in a good sized aquarium with other similar types of Lamprologine Shell-dwellers. Other good tankmates are a large school of Herring cichlids of the Cyprichromis genus like the Sardine Cichlid Cyprichromis leptosoma, as well as the Goby Cichlids, Julidochromis species, and Tropheus species.
Though the Daffodil Cichlids spend a good deal of their time spawning, they are a secretive shelter spawner. You may not even know they have spawned until you see small fry darting about. A pair of Daffodil Cichlids will spawn again and again. The older fry will help protect the younger ones, thus various ages of fry will be present in the same tank. This is an example of "stepped breeding".
In the wild, Daffodil Cichlids live and feed in large schools containing hundreds of fish. This species feeds largely on small crustaceans, plankton and insect larvae as well as other invertebrates. In the home aquarium, however, these fish may accept a variety of foods including live and frozen Daphnia, brine shrimp and krill in addition to dried foods and vegetable matter. Feed a regular varied diet for optimum health and coloration.In the wild, Daffodil Cichlids live and feed in large schools containing hundreds of fish. This species feeds largely on small crustaceans, plankton and insect larvae as well as other invertebrates. In the home aquarium, however, these fish may accept a variety of foods including live and frozen Daphnia, brine shrimp and krill in addition to dried foods and vegetable matter. Feed a regular varied diet for optimum health and coloration.
The Daffodil Cichlid is active and will swim in all areas of the aquarium. For a species only tank, a minimum of 15 gallons is suggested, though 20 or 35 gallons is better. A larger tank of 50 gallons or more would be required if mixing with other species. They need good water movement along with very strong and efficient filtration. Lake Tanganyika is a very oxygen rich lake so bubblers need to be going day and night, even if there are plants. Regularly check nitrates and ph, nitrates should be no more than 25 ppm and a pH less than 7 is not tolerated. In addition keep an eye on total hardness and carbonate hardness. Avoid overfeeding and overstocking.
Lake Tanganyika is the second to largest lake in the world, thus contributing to a low fluctuation in temperature and pH. All Tanganyika cichlids need stable temperatures kept within acceptable limits and lots of oxygen to survive. Temperatures under 72° F and over 86° F for too long is not tolerated by many of these fish. When treating for ich, a few days at 86° F is acceptable. The lake is also consistently alkaline with a pH of around 9, and very hard at about 12 - 14° dGH. In the aquarium most Tanganyika cichlids are fairly adaptable as long as conditions are close to these ideal ranges. Most important is that their water chemistry doesn't change much over time. The water needs to be well buffered and maintained with small, regular water changes.
Salt is sometimes used as a buffering agent to increase the water's carbonate hardness. An alternative buffering approach is to use a chemical filtration method, where they water passes through layers of crushed coral or coral sand. Interestingly, Tanganyikan cichlids also need iodine for the thyroid to function properly to regulate growth and development, and which can be achieved by adding iodized table salt to the water. Although rift lake cichlids need hard alkaline water they are not found in brackish waters. This cichlid has some salt tolerance so can be kept in slightly brackish water conditions. However it not suited to a full brackish water tank. It can tolerate a salinity that is about 10% of a normal saltwater tank, a specific gravity of less than 1.0002.
Provide a sandy or very small sized gravel substrate. Sand used for salt water tanks can help keep the pH up as well as the addition of crushed coral. Crushed coral and aragonite sands do tend to dissolve easier than salts. They need a lot of rocks piled up to create cave formations. Plants are not essential though they do not harm them. They don't tend to burrow unless they are digging out a spawning sight around the decor. Subdued lighting is also preferred.
Brichardi are unique in a number of ways. First, this fish is an egg-laying substrate spawner, laying their eggs on a surface such as a stone, sandy pit, or empty snail shell. While this is not unique on its own, it is the only known substrate-spawning cichlid that schools. It is not unheard of to find a school numbering near 100,000 individuals within a 50 meter square area. Second, a unique characteristic of its spawning habits in the wild, are in the rearing of the fry. It is the only known fish in Africa that utilizes a collective nursery. This means that adults, juveniles, and even half-grown fry all participate in a multi-generational rearing of the fry. Brichardi individuals not only care for their own fry but the fry of those who spawn around them as well as keep vigil over other adults when actively spawning. Spawns of over 100 eggs are not uncommon. A Brichardi parent nurturing her fry.
The fish will begin to breed in the aquarium as early as 2 inches and aren't choosy in selecting spawning mediums, and are known to spawn in rocks, shells and inverted flower pots. As in the wild, the parents will allow many generations of fry to stay within the territory, and the fry will assist the parents in guarding the youngest fry.
An important consideration in selecting Brichardi for an aquarium is being aware of how protective this fish is in defending their fry. It is not at all unheard of, for a single pair of Brichardi to take over a mixed tank of Tanganyikans, even as large as a 75-gallon aquarium. They pair off earlier than most other cichlids. It is not uncommon to have a pair to have all of the other fish either huddled in the top corner, often with damage and even some fatalities.
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